Meet Our AP Team
It takes a lot of dedicated staff to run a specialised Alternative Provision! Let's meet the team involved...
Katie O'Brien - Head of Alternative Provision
As well as being the Head of Alternative Provision, Kate is also a Senior Manager and Therapist across the ADO business.
Kate has worked at ADO since 2013 and has gained a wealth of experience and skills. She started as a volunteer with the Events Team and has worked incredibly hard to develop her career and progress within the business, becoming a senior therapist along the way. Kate has overseen the development of our early years Preschool and now leads the team on the ground at the Alternative Provision.
She is a Bushcraft Practitioner and has an Animal Assisted Therapy Diploma, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Diploma and Animal Management Diploma. With her knowledge and experience with therapy, Kate is able to advise and support all staff whilst working with children and young people with SEN, SEMH, challenging behaviour and EAL.
Kate is the AP Safeguarding Officer and is trained in Safe Holding, which is used to protect students from themselves and other students.
Kate's hobbies include being outdoors with nature, going to music concerts and caring and riding her own horse.
Victoria McHolland-Pilcher - Managing Director & Proprietor
The ADO Education and Therapy teams are overseen by Victoria McHolland-Pilcher, our Managing Director. Victoria has over 15 years Project Management and Business Consultancy experience and qualifications working for large firms in London.
Victoria's life history includes a lifelong love of supporting youth and community programs and with a family heavily involved in youth and community, spent many summers supporting holiday schemes for deprived children and young people. Victoria has undertaken both the Forest School Leader Level 3 course and is also a Bushcraft Practitioner with several years' experience of implementing these programs within our existing childcare clubs.
Victoria is a Low Ropes Course Instructor, has completed Suicide Assist training and also holds qualifications in Animal Assisted Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and is a qualified Relaxation Therapist. With a therapy team on hand, we are in a strong position to support children and young people with SEND requirements where required.
Victoria's dream to open a forest school preschool came to fruition in February 2016. Since then, she has been more determined than ever to open an Alternative Provision with the hope of it developing to an Independent School.
Victoria's hobbies include bushcraft, climbing, country walks, caring and riding her own horse Fuzzy Bear.
Gary McHolland-Pilcher - Chief Operating Officer
Gary has over 20 years' experience working in the City and West End of London within Information Technology, Telecoms, Sales and Company Operations. He has gained a huge skillset within all of these areas and he utilises them daily at ADO. His knowledge and experience have helped grow ADO from a very small company into a thriving business, offering education and therapy to many individuals.
When Gary isn't busy in the main office, working away on policies, procedures, business development and accounts, he is out on the land at Poets Corner helping to develop the site.
Gary has a lot of large projects on the go at the moment and is constantly striving to progress the business, especially the Alternative Provision. He was recently nominated to take part in a series of workshops at the British Library, which gave access to some of the top consultants in London providing invaluable information which has helped move the company towards new horizons.
Gary enjoys most sports, playing the guitar, all types of horticulture and long country walks.
Eloise Greenwood - Business & Exams Officer
Eloise has been with ADO since 2013 and has proved herself as a valuable member of the team. Eloise has shown versatility in her time with ADO and her skills have grown with the company. Eloise started out volunteering with community events and company photography. She moved in to the office to help with the ever increasing administration, whilst assisting with the running of after school clubs and holiday clubs.
In February 2016, ADO Mini Explorers Preschool opened and Eloise was there from Day 1. Eloise helped out in the preschool with a mix of administration and childcare until she decided to dedicate herself to undertaking a Level 2 qualification in Early Years Care and Education.
In March 2018, Eloise made the brave decision to return back to the office to help the company to grow further and develop the Alternative Provision. Eloise is now the Business and Exams Officer for ADO and shows true dedication and hard work to this demanding role. She is the backbone of the office!
Eloise's hobbies include crafting, bushcraft and anything to do with birds!
Lauren Wishart - Finance & HR Administrator
Lauren joined our office team in October 2019 and is now HR and Accounting Assistant! Lauren supports with the financial side of the business as well as keeping staff records up to date.
She has achieved a Level 2 and 3 AAT in business and finance and she will be putting these qualifications to good use!
Lauren has first-hand experience being around young people with additional needs, as her sister has a rare condition called Myotonic Dystrophy, has severe learning difficulties and delayed development. This experience guided Lauren towards us as she wanted to work for a business who help others. Lauren has helped her dad to run charity days to raise money for SEN schools to help keep them well equipped to support the children and young people there.
She is an animal lover and has a beautiful dog called Bailey. Since being with ADO, she has worked to combat her anxieties around snakes and has befriended one of the bearded dragons.
On top of all that, Lauren has plenty of experience being around children and young people as she has 17 younger cousins! In her spare time, she enjoys seeing her cousins and rest of the family, listening to music and going out with friends. She enjoys family holidays to sunny Cyprus and visiting family in not-always-so-sunny Eastbourne.
Robert Jarvis - Lead Instructor and Manager (DSO)
Robert joined ADO in April 2019 and has already proved himself as a confident and enthusiastic team member.
Robert started his career in outdoor education in Wales in 2009. He has previously worked as an instructor in Wales Devon and Kent, has been an instructor on the roof of the London o2 and has worked as an abseil instructor off The Orbit in Stratford. Robert most recently worked at the Prince’s Trust as a Development Instructor, taking young people out on different outdoor activities.
Robert has qualifications in Rock Climbing, Paddle Sport, Mountain Biking and he is a High Rope Instructor and a qualified Mountain Leader! Robert is qualified in Bushcraft First Aid, which covers more specialist first aid requirements.
Robert completed his Designated Safeguarding Officer training in November 2019.
In his spare time, when Robert isn’t climbing half way up a mountain, he enjoys being outside on either his bike or in a boat. He definitely loves being outdoors and enjoying the fresh air!
Joe Greenwood - Land Support Supervisor
The Alternative Provision, Office and Preschool sites and grounds are maintained and up kept by Joe, who has a Level 2 in Horticulture. Joe works hard to ensure all of the outdoor areas at ADO are of a high standard and he has built many of the features at the AP site, such as the mud kitchen and music wall. He has also built a play house at the preschool site and a crow's nest around the base of a tree.
Joe used to run the Gardening After-School Club at the preschool as well as running school education visits and mobile therapy outreach services. As the team have grown and Joe's role has developed, he can now focus on the ADO lands and maintenance and continue to develop all of our sites.
Joe is also trained in Chainsaw Maintenance & Cross Cutting and is the Fire Warden for the AP Site.
In Joe's spare time, he enjoys woodwork, playing football and playing the ukulele.
Sara Buckley - Teaching Assistant & Therapist
Sara started bringing her son to our after school clubs in 2014. She loved our ethos and the benefits of children being outdoors and interacting with animals, nature and wildlife. Sara started getting more involved with ADO and was offered a role in 2015. Sara made the huge decision to take the leap from working as a hair salon manager for over a decade, to come and work for ADO, in a completely different job role! Sara started at ADO as an Event Leader for animal encounters and therapy events.
Since starting with ADO, Sara has evolved with the company and is now a full time staff member at our Alternative Provision. Sara has obtained her qualification in Animal Assisted Therapy and is currently finishing off an apprenticeship as a Teaching Assistant L2. Once Sara has achieved TA L2, she will move on to studying Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which will help to support our AP students and our therapy clients.
When Sara doesn't have her head in the books studying, she enjoys camping, dancing and bushcraft. Sara has a passion for crafts and is extremely resourceful! She is always willing to learn new skills and has recently been developing her skills with willow weaving!
Eva Vaughan - Occupational Therapist
Eva graduated from University College Cork in Ireland with a degree in Occupational Therapy in 2012. Whilst in Ireland, Eva worked in a child and adolescent mental health service. Eva worked with young people on tasks such as developing fine and gross motor skills, working on social skills and implementing sensory strategies.
After moving to London in 2014, Eva spent the next few years working in different adult mental health settings in secure units and acute wards. Eva assisted people to develop independent living skills through activities like self-catering, community access and vocational projects. She also facilitated a lot of group work and completed recommendations on how best to support clients once they had been discharged back into the community. Through this time she also volunteered with an animal assisted activity project, and this was her first introduction to the wonderful world of AAA.
Eva started as a project leader with a care farm project in early 2019 where she still works when she is not at ADO. Here she has had the opportunity to work with adults with intellectual disabilities and autistic spectrum disorder through sessions based on animal care, gardening, land maintenance and natural crafts. Eva has loved every second of working therapeutically in an outdoor setting and is really excited about being part of the alternative provision project at ADO!
Eva absolutely loves spending time with all kinds of animals (though is partial to cats!) and in her spare time also enjoys listening to music, going to concerts, art and films/TV.
Sarah Leaf - Maths & English Tutor
Sarah joined the ADO team in 2020 as an Education Consultant and Maths & English Tutor. She has 20 years’ experience in Teaching, Teacher Training and Education Management.
She combined her passion for education and travel, spending over a decade living, working and studying in France, Cameroon, Kazakhstan and Colombia. Through this international experience, she developed cultural sensitivity and learned to think beyond the status quo.
Sarah has a Master’s degree in Education, a Level 7 Licentiate Diploma in TESOL and a BA French Studies. She is also a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator and currently finishing a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.
Sarah views teaching and learning as a two-way process of transformation, based on compassion, empathy and a commitment to social justice. She loves the learner-centred, humanist approach at ADO and hopes that as many young people as possible can benefit from this life-enhancing provision.
When Sarah is not working, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, woodland walks and campaigning against domestic abuse – she is one of the founders and leaders of Women’s Equality Bexley, as well as a Community Ambassador at Bexley Women’s Aid.
You can find out more about Sarah’s work here: www.sarahleaf.com
Ronnie Mitchell - Outdoor Educator
With a wealth of experience in youth work, Ronnie was involved with the company since 2017. Prior to working for ADO, Ronnie worked for Bromley Youth Service and the Prince's Trust, where he worked with young people aged 16-17 years old. Ronnie was a team leader at both locations and enjoyed working with the young people.
Ronnie has an NVQ Level 3 in Youth Work and has been an Educational Visit Trip Leader, a Basketball Coach, Resilience Body Training, Amateur Rowing Instructor and so much more!
When Ronnie joined ADO, he was involved in the preschool with the Mini Explorers. His confidence and playful nature shone through and he was often found playing his 'stick guitar' and singing songs with the 2-5 year olds.
Ronnie loves seeing the transition of young people and being able to work at the alternative provision within nature and the beautiful surroundings.
Ronnie's hobbies include listening to music, watching cooking programmes and collecting coins.
Emma Bronsdon - Outdoor Leader
Emma joined our team in October 2018 as a Sports Educator Apprentice. This was a big step for Emma as it meant leaving sixth form, but allowed her to start the exciting journey of a career in outdoor education!
Emma completed a silver Duke of Edinburgh, worked part time in an SEN school and has always enjoyed camping. This experience and passion helped lead Emma to the decision to join ADO.
Emma has shown an abundance of dedication and passion during her apprenticeship. She dove head first in to the role and quickly became a paediatric first aider and a Bushcraft Practitioner. In January 2019, Emma also won a Jack Petchey aware through ADO, as an acknowledgement for her hard work as a young leader.
Emma loves working with the animals and seeing the positive impact they have on the children and young people. Emma revels in being outside all day, especially in the woodland and she enjoys being part of the student's journey with us.
Emma's hobbies include spending time with her dog, exploring outside and practicing her bushcraft skills.
Charlotte Fenna - Animal Science Educator
Charlotte started with ADO in 2018 as an animal care volunteer, offering her wide ranging skillset to assist with the animals on a daily basis. Charlotte's passion and dedication led her to becoming a contracted member of the team in 2019.
Before joining ADO, Charlotte worked part time at a veterinary practice as a kennel staff member. She then started volunteering at Second Chance Animal Rescue centre, where she became the Head of Exotics, Supervisor of Rescue and helped to run the exotic mammal experiences with the public.
Charlotte has since completed her Level 3 Animal Management BTEC extended diploma. Charlotte runs Animal Care lessons with the primary and secondary students and ensures the animals' welfare throughout the day. Charlotte enjoys working with the animals and being outdoors as she finds it very calming.
Charlotte also does a high element of our Exotics and Invertebrate Animal Care.
In her spare time, Charlotte enjoys continuing to volunteer with Second Chance and she also enjoys reading, watching films and seeing musicals.
Natalie Doig - Equine Studies Educator
Natalie started volunteering with ADO in 2014, where she assisted with the animal care. Her role grew and developed in to a contracted position in 2016, where she predominantly took on the animal care role and assisted with therapy groups. Natalie took a real fondness to the horses and decided she would break from ADO in 2018 to pursue her equine studies and general experience.
Natalie re-joined us in November 2020 with a qualification in Animal Management, British Horse Society Stage 1 in Horse Care & Management and Riding. Natalie also took time to work in a riding school so she could gain experience teaching riding lessons. On top of all this, she also has her own horse, Rio, whom she cares for on a daily basis. In her spare time, Natalie spends time with Rio by going for hacks in the woods and going show jumping together!
Natalie finds all animals very therapeutic to be around, especially horses and ponies. She also has a passion for photography and videography and enjoys getting creative in nature!
Natalie will be sharing her wealth of knowledge of the equine world with the students as well as supporting other areas of the Alternative Provision.
Michelle Brodie - Alternative Provision Support Staff
Michelle joined ADO in September 2020 to assist with the Alternative Provision. With her bubbly and happy personality, Michelle was an instant hit with the students!
Michelle has a vast amount of experience working with children and young people, both in this country and in America! Michelle started working with children with SEN when she was 18 years old. She is incredibly passionate about working with children and has worked in youth support, youth clubs and in American summer camps. Michelle's favourite thing about working with children is that she loves a challenge!
With a passion for travelling, Michelle has visited many countries, including Vietnam and America. Whilst in New Zealand, Michelle did a sky dive over Lake Taupo! When she isn't on or throwing herself out of a plane, Michelle enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She has two daughters, 4 hamsters, a dog and plenty of sea monkeys, which keep multiplying!
Michelle holds a BSL Level 1, is a personal trainer and enjoys astronomy. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys cycling, hiking and going to the gym. Her favourite thing about being outdoors is the fresh air and getting dirty!
Christine Harrison - Head Food Grower
Christina (Chrissy) has been with ADO since 2013 and has been based at Poets Corner, long before it was developed in to our Alternative Provision! Chrissy is the head Food Grower on site. The food growing area features beds and poly tunnels , when she and her dedicated volunteer team grow food.
Chrissy uses certified organic soil in the salad farm growing area and our Alternative Provision students and Preschool children all benefit from delicious fresh salads and vegetables.
Chrissy runs Horticulture Studies with the Primary and Secondary children on a weekly basis. She also oversees and supports the students tending to their own herb patch areas. This promotes independence, responsibility and helps teach the students about growth and development. In addition to this, the horticulture lessons with Chrissy also promote mindfulness and self-care.
Having such fresh and delicious fresh foods available and helping to grow them helps us to promote healthy eating and well-being.
Chrissy loves being outdoors in all weathers, tending to the salad beds! When she is not working her green fingers, Christine enjoys travelling and was particularly fond of India and Costa Rica.
Jarvis & Velvet - Therapy Dogs
Jarvis was adopted by ADO in 2012 after he was rescued from Ireland. He was given a very loving home and enjoyed days at the office as well, where the team all made a big fuss of him! Jarvis has many fans and he was so in demand, we couldn't keep up with his bookings! It was decided in 2014 that Jarvis was going to get a companion, so they could work together and play with each other whilst not in sessions. Along came Velvet, who was rescued from Belvedere in 2015! After a bit of hesitation, Jarvis & Velvet were soon bounding around the field playing together and they have been inseparable ever since! Velvet was welcomed in to the team with open arms and was soon a very big hit with everyone as well!
Jarvis and Velvet spend the majority of their days together at the Alternative Provision. They go on dog walks with the students and are partial to grooming and tummy rubs! Jarvis & Velvet assist in some therapy sessions and occasionally visit the preschool. They have also completed phobia work with individuals who have approached us having dog phobias and wanted to combat these. Velvet is also known for her skillset in dog agility, as part of our Jack Petchey award scheme one of your young people dedicated his fund pot to buying her an agility set. Velvet loves putting on a show (as long as she gets a treat)!
Jarvis and Velvet are both a huge part of the team and are loved by all the team, students and clients! In their spare time, they enjoy long walks in the countryside, playing with their toys together and having cuddles (Jarvis also enjoys chasing flies).
Image shows Bella (our guest therapy dog), Velvet and Jarvis.
Our much loved animals form a vital part of our team! Part of the students' days with us includes animal care for the mammals, reptiles and invertebrates at our Alternative Provision site.
We have Horses, Ponies, Pygmy Goats, Pigs, a Raccoon Dog, Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Rats, Chinchillas, Ferrets, Leopard Tortoises, Terrapins, Royal Pythons, Corn Snakes, Bearded Dragons, Berber Skinks, Boa Constrictor, Leopard Gecko, Crested Geckos, Tarantulas, Scorpions, Stick Insects, Giant African Millipedes, Giant African Snails, Cockroaches, African Bullfrog and Saddled Beetles.